So I should preface this by saying I’m not done with 30 days without alcohol yet… but I’m getting there! So far I’m over halfway, so I wanted to share a few things I’ve noticed so far.
To give a little background, the day after my 24th birthday my husband and I started a challenge to not drink alcohol for 30 days. There have been a variety of reactions about this, with some people finding it easy (especially the people who never drink alcohol) and others thinking we’ve gone insane.
So why no alcohol? Honestly, there wasn’t just one reason. I’ve focused on my health a lot over the past couple years, so I’m always eager to try things that might make my mind and body feel better. My husband has a half marathon coming up, so it’s good timing in terms of his training. We’ve also been thinking about how much time, energy and money drinking takes up, so it seemed like time to dive into a commitment beyond just “cutting back”.
Even though I’m not a heavy drinker, and usually have a couple drinks a week max, it’s still amazing to see the impact of completely cutting out alcohol. It’s so different when you’re consciously making a decision to avoid drinking, even when temping opportunities come up.
So what are a few things I’ve noticed?
1) How much time are you spending drinking? For me, the answer was SO much more than I realized. Even very casual drinking can turn a Friday evening into 2-3 drinks with friends. A Saturday afternoon could become a bottle of wine on the beach with my husband. When 5 p.m. on Saturday hit during our first week of the challenge, we all of a sudden weren’t sure what to do with ourselves. So often a Saturday afternoon would be a glass of wine on the patio, and cutting out alcohol forced us to get out of that comfort zone. So what did that mean? More exploring and adventuring, more walks in the park, and actually sitting down to read more of the book I wanted to.
2) There’s definitely a mental clarity that comes with cutting out alcohol completely. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m getting more sleep, am more hydrated… but I feel more in touch with my thoughts. Usually that’s a good thing, but it also led to another realization.
3) Sometimes alcohol helps quiet the noise in your head. Occasionally a glass of wine can help bring our true selves out, allowing us to say or do what we’ve really wanted to deep down. It doesn’t have to take alcohol to get this awareness, but sometimes it’s an easy crutch. Cutting alcohol has definitely forced me to face he racing thoughts and over-thinking that easily sneak up in my head. At times this is extremely challenging, but of course it’s a good practice (and I’ve learned a lot about myself).
All that and I’m just halfway through! I’d love to hear if anyone has done something similar, and what they noticed. And yes, this means I’ll be saving that bottle of wine for a couple more weeks.
Today’s Petite Power: If you always do what you’ve always done you’ll get what you always got